Here is everything you need to know about PS5 backward compatibility.
Before release, the most persistent negative rumour about PlayStation 5 was that it wouldn’t be compatible with the last-gen – at least, not to the same level as the Xbox family.
However, that is simply not true. Sony broke from tradition and ensured its new console is fully compatible with the vast majority of PS4 games. In some cases, it even ehances them.
Here then is everything you need to know about PS5 backward compatibility.
Gloriously, the PlayStation 5 is backward compatible with almost every PS4 game available.
As with the Xbox Series X and S, backward compatibility is performed through emulation, which means some features and/or games may not work or may exhibit some bugs. However, on the flip side, you can also use the PS5’s Game Boost feature on some PS4 titles to play them in a higher or smoother frame rate.
PS4 games can be played using the DualSense controller that comes with the PS5, or a DualShock 4 controller (or third-party equivalent). However, it’s worth noting that the DualShock cannot be used to play PS5 games.
Both the standard PS5 and Digital Edition are capable of playing PS4 games, but you can only play disc titles on the former machine, of course.
The PlayStation VR headset is fully compatible with the PS5. However, it will only work with the PS Camera (as with the PS4) and an adapter – it will not work with the PS5’s own HD Camera accessory.
You can now apply for one of these free adapters, which Sony is making available to ensure that eligible PSVR owners aren’t left behind. The PlayStation Move controllers and PSVR Aim Controller will work with PSVR games on PS5. You can also use a DualShock 4.
If you have the standard edition PlayStation 5, you can insert any PS4 games you have on disc into your console and they will install and run (apart from those on the known “not working” list below). You will need to insert the disc each time you wish to play the game.
If you have the Digital Edition and/or own digital download versions of PS4 games, you need to head to your games library on the homescreen and you should be able to see all compatible games available for download.
You can also transfer your games from a PS4 or PS4 Pro to the PS5 to avoid having to download them again.
There are two methods, either through Wi-Fi transfer from one console to another, or by copying your games onto an external USB hard drive and then plugging that into the PS5.
It is also worth noting that some PS4 games in your library will be eligible for a free upgrade to their PS5 versions. There will be an upgrade option on the game hub for each supported title, and you can tell what type is installed by checking the logo next to it on your homescreen before you play it.
When you buy a new game on PS5 that has a PS4 version available, the PS5 version will automatically install, so there’s no need to worry in that case.
As well as the games themselves, you can transfer your save data from a PS4 to the PS5 and carry on playing from where you left off.
In many cases, PS4 cloud saves can be downloaded to a PS5 (for PS Plus members). However, that’s not confirmed for every title.
With more than 4,000 PS4 games able to be played on PS5, we can’t really list them all here. Indeed, it’s easier to list the ones known NOT to work. Ubisoft added to PlayStation’s original list with a few games that currently don’t work properly, as you can see below.
These are the PS4 games that are currently confirmed as NOT working on PlayStation 5 (as of 3 November 2021):
As well as PS4 games you may have bought over the years, all PS5 owners with PlayStation Plus membership get free access to the following triple-A titles – all of which running through backward compatibility:
Sony is yet to confirm if support for legacy PlayStation games is in the pipeline. However, with the PS Now cloud gaming service an established feature by now it could be that games for older generation PlayStations could be available via that platform.
Rik is Pocket-lint’s senior news editor and has been a tech and games journalist since the 80s. He has seen and covered just about every console, mobile phone, gadget and home cinema device launched in the last 35+ years.
Prior to Pocket-lint, Rik worked on and edited Home Cinema Choice and various videogames magazines, such as Your Commodore and Amstrad Computer User. His TV and radio career has also seen him produce and/or present on many shows, including GamesMaster, Sky One’s Games World, Sky News Swipe, BBC Radio Humberside, The Apprentice and Channel 5’s Greatest Christmas TV Ads. When he’s not playing games, he is a football (soccer) nut and has a comic book and action figure collection the size of a small house.